Addressing a three-day International Conference on Cooperation, Development, Peace and Security in Central Asia at University of Kashmir here on Saturday, chief minister Omar Abdullah said that relations between India, particularly Jammu and Kashmir, and the Central Asia had been historic.
"There is perhaps no field of life where we do not possess similarities. Our culture, heritage, languages, architecture, eating habits and religion have similarity", he said and stressed on the need of re-discovering silk-route to re-link Jammu and Kashmir with Central Asia and open a new chapter of socio-economic development.
Identifying the challenges to link India with Central Asian countries via Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran, Omar said "till we overcome this challenge, we can have overland contact with these countries via Jammu and Kashmir". He said air flights could originate from Srinagar international airport for the Capitals of Central Asian Countries to rejuvenate the historic links between the people.
He said people of state are highly interested to visit Central asian countries and re-establish tourism and trade links with these countries.
Omar Abdullah said that the cooperation in the development fields, especially in the energy Sector, could be of great value for a state like Jammu and Kashmir where there is huge gap between energy generation and its consumption.
Omar, while wishing success of the conference, said the deliberations of participants from the Central Asian countries and India in the Conference would prove fruitful for taking necessary measures to strengthen the bonds and contact between these countries and India.
Speaking at the function union minister for foreign Affairs, Salman Khurshid dwelt in detail about the Indian efforts to seek global peace, security and cooperation. He also talked about the Indian initiatives towards strengthening the ties and trade links with the Central Asian countries.